Izel Unal joined the Play the City team in July, 2023. She is an ‘honor graduate’ of the urban planning department at the Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul]. With her graduation thesis "The Place and Importance of Mixed Use", Izel earned the first place in her class. Her previous internships involve Beyoglu Municipality, Uskudar Municipality, and Erhan Demirdizen Urban Planning and Zoning Consultancy in Istanbul. These experiences provided her experience in teamwork, time management, creative thinking, and developing strategies for problems.
Izel believes participation is the crucial step in future oriented planning, and is impressed by the idea of solving complex problems and bringing actors with the game method. In addition, During the daily working routine, she aims to learn new things by improving herself. She is highly skilled in using computer programs such as ArcGIS, Sketchup, Adobe, Photoshop, AutoCAD, NetCAD and Microsoft Office programs.
Born in Ankara, Güneş holds a degree in city and regional planning at the Middle East Technical University, where she is currently conducting her doctoral research. Güneş holds an additional degree in geographic information systems and remote sensing as a result of the exchange program at the University of Manchester. In 2022, she obtained her master's degree in Urban Design from METU with a thesis titled "A Comparative Research on Participatory Practices in Istanbul and Amsterdam." Throughout her professional career, Güneş has worked on several projects in both the private and public sectors, participated in design competitions, and won various awards.
This project inspired me to start a collective of active neighbors and artists called “The Outsiders” in 2013. We create dynamic public spaces and engage citizens to take an active role in exploring the identity of their territory, with a focus on culture, food and the built environment. We also experiment with methods for civic design, placemaking and building improvisation.
My role as a game designer include leading design teams. Games I have collaborated on include themes of the circular economy, social change, urban transformation, migration and affordable housing. Collaborative urbanism is a powerful tool for territory exploration and city making. I'm inspired by Play the City’s ability to bring multiple stakeholders involved in planning issues together to share knowledge and collaborate towards a common goal.